Monday, January 14, 2008

The Seed Catalogues

January is our vacation month, sort of. That is, being in both the farming business and the tourist industry we are slaving away in July and August when most of our customers are on vacation and people are always saying something like "You work so hard." Well, they should come visit in January. We can go on beach walks (well bundled up to be sure), sit around and drink tea, and eat leftover Christmas candy.

Of course, the truth is, that neither Joel and I are particularly good at just sitting around, so taking a vacation mainly consists of reading seed catalogues, while drinking cups of tea or coffee and dreaming about the next year's garden.

Ah, the seed catalogues. My love of them stems from a visit to one of aunt's when I was about 8 or 10. While the adults sat in the kitchen talking about adult stuff I wandered into the living room and discovered this marvelous magazine full of FLOWERS. I was entranced and to this day remember how wonderful it was. When I first started gardening for my self some 30+ years ago I wondered if I could find that particular company's catalogue. By gosh when I got my first Park Seed catalogue there it was, looking not all that different from what I remembered. And in the mail today I got my 2008 version of the Park Seed Co. catalogue and it is still wonderful.

This will be our 22nd year of growing vegetables for sale at the Farmers market. We decided years ago that getting exactly what we wanted in seeds was more practical than trying to keep postage rates down by limiting ourselves to one or two catalogues. We love growing a wide variety of vegetables and flowers and experiment each year with new varieties. Some of them are busts and we toss the seeds, but some of them are wonderful, better than anything else we've had before. So we keep trying new stuff. This means that we order from sometimes up to 20 different companies. Our mainstays are Johnny';s and Territorial but we order from Jungs, Parks, Harris, Tomato Growers, Seed Savers, and a lot more.

So today Joel has had them all spread out on the table checking prices and amounts of seed and looking for a new red turnip that he knows he saw someplace and now can't find. And a new storage tomato that he did finally find in the Abundant Life catalogue. This is the fantasy garden; no cutworms, wireworms, muskrats, golden crowned sparrows or fungi. Just beautiful pictures of gorgeous vegetables and beautiful flowers. I love this time of year.

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